Best friends and siblings

My novels are about identity, genetic inheritance and the influence of our life experiences and upbringing on the building of character and sense of self. With the mystery of adoption added to the mix. Now some new research has added to this mixture of influences. Apparently we can share almost as much DNA with our close friends, as we can with our family. Are we as similar to our best friends as our siblings?

siblings

[photo: Oliver Rossi/Corbis]

So what does this mean for Ignoring Gravity? Does Rose share as many genes with best friend Maggie as she does with her sister Lily? Not quite.

Geneticists say unrelated friends may share 1% of genes, that doesn’t sound like much but is the same as fourth cousins [ie those who share great-great-great grandparents]. One per cent is a significant number for geneticists. Co-author of the American study, Professor James Fowler from the University of California in San Diego, said: ‘Looking across the whole genome we find that, on average, we are genetically similar to our friends. We have more DNA in common with the people we pick as friends than we do with strangers in the same population.’ Human evolution may be the reason why: early humans may have formed groups that were genetically suited to the same environments, or had similar likes and dislikes.

siblings

[photo: Viaframe/Corbis]

This still applies today suggests the article in UK newspaper, the Daily Mail. People who like the smell of coffee may frequent coffee shops more, and meet other people who like the smell of coffee.

I’m not sure where this new research takes me with Rose Haldane and her quest for identity, but it is interesting as part of the bigger picture.

Read the full article in the Daily Mail, here.

siblings

 

‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Best friends & siblings: human evolution http://wp.me/p5gEM4-19l #researching via @SandraDanby